Tone is everything in day-to-day conversation. However, while we can easily convey our tone in verbal conversation by the volume of our voice, the look in our eyes, and our general body language, it’s not as easy with written tone.
In content marketing, the tone of voice you use helps your reader receive your words in the proper context or level of formality. Your written tone can determine whether your words are perceived as instructional, friendly, authoritative, uncertain, warm, witty, or crude.
Your written tone also influences your brand voice, which, in turn, affects the way your brand is perceived by customers. For over 80% of customers, an authentic, consistent brand voice is important to build and maintain trust in your brand.
In this article, we’ll show you how to nail the right tones of voice for your writing (and your brand) and how to maintain it across all your marketing channels. We’ll also show you examples of brands who’ve figured out their brand voice and what you can learn from them.
Establishing your brand's tone of voice
Your company’s tone of voice is a combination of the brand voice and the variety of tones used in different circumstances. Let’s look a little at brand voice vs tone.
Brand voice refers to your brand’s personality or brand identity. For example, if your brand or business were a person, would they be more serious or bubbly and outgoing, or just plain sassy?
Whether your brand voice is serious, friendly, witty, or educational, the tone of your messaging will vary depending on the situation. For example, your tone likely would sound more excited while announcing promo deals than you would in a press release about a change of CEO. Nonetheless, the voice should still sound like you.
All this sounds great, but how do you get it done? How do you settle on your brand voice? Try this five-step process.
1. Evaluate your company
It all starts from the inside. Think about your company, brand values, and what it represents to customers. Imagine that your company came to life as a person? Would it stick to clean, prescribed lines, or would it prefer to be unconventional, disrupting the status quo? This should reflect in your brand voice.
- What are your company’s do’s and don’ts?
- What is the purpose of your content?
- Do you aim to inspire, educate, or entertain?
- Is your content designed primarily to promote value or drive sales?
Thinking through these questions will help you complete the first step: determining your company’s/brand personality. Once you have this, the rest of the process is much easier.
2. Figure out what your audience needs
Every business is different — as is the target audience. Knowing who your audience is, what they need, how they talk, and what they’re interested in will help you craft a brand voice that appeals to them.
To learn about your audience, you’ll need to talk to them and do some research. Try sending out surveys or polling them if you have a large enough audience.
Depending on your industry, you’ll need to figure out the following (at least) about your target audience and build a buyer persona:
- Their values and interests
- Economic status
- Pain points
- How they like to purchase
- Whether or not they use social media, etc.
Several of these factors will be linked. For example, age or generation often affects whether or not people use social media. A person’s job can also impact their economic status and whether or not they’re interested in certain products or services.
3. What platforms do you use?
Depending on your target audience, your brand may be better suited for Twitter or LinkedIn than Instagram or TikTok. Once you’ve decided what your preferred marketing channels will be, it’s easier to decide how your brand’s personality fits in with these channels.
For most brands, while the voice is consistent, their tone changes across social media platforms. A “serious” software company, while keeping its language simple and accessible, may be more formal on its website and playful on its social media profiles.
Additionally, many brands may be more serious on LinkedIn than they are on Twitter. So, knowing your platforms will help you prepare the best tone for each one. For example: compare the Slack brand tone of voice on LinkedIn vs Twitter.
4. Check your competitors
Finding your place in the market often depends on possessing a unique value proposition, and this applies to your brand voice too. It’s hard to stand out if your brand sounds like every other competitor in your industry. That’s why competitor research is essential for developing a brand voice.
Ideally, it’s wise to copy some industry best practices (they’re best practices because they work), but it is essential to sprinkle in your unique fairy dust, so to speak. Examining your competitor’s communication styles can reveal a gap in the market that might be useful to you.
5. Get help from a consultant
Even with all the best tips in the world, sometimes developing a brand voice is simply a job for the experts. If you have the budget, consider hiring a branding strategist. These professionals help you create and refine every aspect of your branding, from logos, fonts, colors to brand voice.
With a branding consultant, you can breathe easy and focus on the parts of your business you’re actually skilled at handling.
How to maintain tones of voice across your content
Now that you have a brand voice, how do you ensure that you’re keeping the voice consistent throughout your content?
The goal with a consistent brand voice is to be recognizable, even without a logo or brand name next to your content. But does consistency even matter? Studies say it does! For example, this study by LucidPress reports that 68% of businesses credit brand consistency for a 10-20% increase in their revenue.
Being consistent in your branding — including brand voice and tones of voice — allows customers to recognize you, distinguish you from competitors, and build trust in your product and services.
Ready to reap those benefits? Here’s how to maintain a consistent brand voice across your content.
1. Create a style guide
A style guide is indispensable if you want to maintain a consistent brand voice throughout your marketing efforts. Your style guide details how your brand presents itself — especially in terms of visuals and content. It’s a comprehensive, concise, accessible, and specific documentation of brand colors, font, writing preferences, and many other brand-specific guidelines.
Where written content is concerned, your style guide is a pillar of your content strategy. It should specify several guidelines regulating:
- Your brand’s pronouns (are you “I” or “We”?)
- Voice guidelines
- Word choice
- Sentence length
- Use of slang and colloquialisms
- Use of emojis and multimedia like GIFs
- Inclusion of industry jargon vs sticking to layman language, etc.
Pro tip: To create a detailed style guide, add examples to show team members how your guidelines apply in real life.
2. Review and update style guide
Remember, a style guide only works if you actually use it. Ensure that everyone on your team has and can reference the style guide. More importantly, update your style guide as regularly as needed. Jumping on a new social media platform? Make sure your style guide is set to help social media managers represent the brand appropriately.
New trends and social awareness can render some expressions obsolete, rude, or insensitive. Updating your style guide prevents you from sharing information or using terms that your audience may find offensive.
3. Use an AI writer
Even with a style guide, it can be tough to be sure your words convey the right tone. Is the sentence friendly or is it a tad too serious? Is it funny, or would readers find it a bit too much? This is where an AI writer like Jasper can help!
Jasper is an AI writing assistant trained by expert copywriters and bearing 10% of the Internet’s knowledge. Instead of passing your communication through several copywriters, let Jasper do the heavy lifting. This AI writer can craft a variety of written content in countless tones of voice. See a partial list of options here.
Let’s try several of Jasper’s 52+ writing templates with different tones of voice.
1. Personal bio in a witty voice
“Shemus Broker lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two kids. He started writing when he was thirteen years old and never stopped. His bestselling young adult novel, Gods of the Force, has been published around the world to rave reviews.
When Shemus isn't tied to his writing desk (which is often) he enjoys skiing and mountain climbing!”
Jasper adds a touch of wit (in the parentheses) while keeping the rest of the bio professional.
2. Amazon product description in a friendly voice
Diva Make Up Case is a multi-shaped makeup case that has multiple compartments for your lipsticks, powder, eye shadows, and other makeup items. It is made from durable titanium material and has an enamel finish that makes it easy to clean. The product is BPA-free. It’s available in different colors and comes with a lifetime guarantee! Click ADD TO CART now to rev up your beauty routine today!
This Amazon product description reads like a friend sharing a new favorite product with you — talk about nailing the tone!
3. Blog post in a professional voice
We provided minimal information — no real outline and Jasper got to work creating this blog post from scratch.
4. Sincere Facebook ad
Are you an Airbnb host?
If so, you know what it’s like to be a small business owner. You have to juggle marketing, customer service, and the day-to-day operations of your business. That’s why we created BetterBNB – a suite of tools that helps Airbnb hosts manage their listings more efficiently. We even offer free photography services for all our customers!
Doesn’t this ad read as though the writer cares about you personally? You can thank Jasper for that.
5. Excited email subject line
The use of emojis add an extra sparkle of excitement and help these subject lines stand out in readers’ inboxes.
5 consistent tone of voice examples from popular brands
Want to see how other brands harness a consistent brand voice and tone throughout their communications across platforms? Here are five examples worth emulating. See if you can figure out which words describe their brand voice before we reveal it.
The words “Let’s hook up” paired with that m&m image scream sassy (okay, a little naughty), but cute enough to eat. The subheading also maintains that voice with the vivid food language “nibble,” “tasty,” and “delicious.”
Slack is known for its upbeat, friendly, and clever brand voice. The brand uses emojis generously — even on this landing page. Notice that their chatbot doesn’t use the typical “how can we help you today?” but goes for a friendlier, conversational voice.
3. Innocent Drinks
Brand voices really shine on their 404 pages. Innocent Drinks maintains their sassy and witty copy throughout their website. I mean, congratulating you for finding the error page — with confetti and all? Peak sassy.
Target keeps things clear, simple, and accessible in its copy. The brand writes like they would talk to customers in a store: “we’ll have everything waiting for you inside the store.” They sure know their audience.
On Facebook, the brand stays on-trend to keep customers engaged, maintaining the approachable and fun brand voice.
Grammarly is known for creating helpful content across the board. Their brand voice is friendly, supportive, and helpful. Case in point? Their Twitter feed, which keeps things positive and always feels like a friend cheering you on.
Keep your tone of voice on point with Jasper
When you write huge volumes of copy, it’s easy to get your wires crossed with tones of voice. We’ve seen how important it is to know your brand and audience and create a voice that matches both. More crucial, though, is the need to be consistent when you’ve found your brand voice.
Jasper is designed to keep you on track with your brand tone of voice. Whether you’re writing a sales email, blog post, Facebook ad, or personal bio, there’s a template for you! Remember to select the right tone of voice as you write — it’s as easy as typing it in for Jasper. You can even type in a celebrity name (try Donald Trump or Morgan Freeman) to get the tone just right!
Ready to connect better with your audience?